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Sri Lanka Lions reach Cyprus cricket final after exciting tied match

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Century-maker Zeeshan Sarwar of Cyprus Moufflons

A tied match between Sri Lanka Lions and Royal was the highlight of the weekend’s cricket. Both teams scored 224 all out, but under the competition rules the Lions were the winners because they led at the 15-over mark. Royal unluckily gained only some bonus points for runs and wickets, while Sri Lanka Lions moved to the top of the table and will play against Moufflons in the final.

The Lions were missing a number of players due to disciplinary suspensions, and were indebted to Srinath Rajith’s 81 for their total. For Royal Sehran Ahmed took 3-29 and Waqas Akhtar 3-63, and in their reply Jeevan Lamsal hit 48 and six other batters made decent contributions. With the scores level and two wickets intact, it seemed Royal must win, until Suresh Janaka took two wickets in two balls to break their hearts.

Sri Lanka Lions made it a doubly successful weekend by winning again on Sunday in the T20 league. Three half-centuries from their in-form batters propelled them to 231-6. Chamal Sadun made 75 with 7 sixes, Akila De Silva 50 and Roshan Siriwardana 51 not out from just 21 balls. Limassol Bangladeshis were unable to compete with such a total and subsided to 99 all out, with Md Jowel Mia top-scoring on 39. Srinath Rajith took 4-21 for the Lions.

Meanwhile their compatriots, Sri Lankan CC from Nicosia were having a tense struggle with Riyaan CC. Both teams have been successful over a number of seasons and would expect to progress through the group stage to the knockout rounds. Riyaan’s score of 138 all out was below par for the Ypsonas ground, but when they then dismissed both Sri Lankan openers for ducks their hopes of a win were revived.

Randunu Ranathunga’s 38 steadied the ship, and experienced players Nalin Gamage and Buddika Ranasinghe were able to steer Sri Lankans home with four wickets and 11 balls left.

Cyprus Super Kings made a modest 106-9 against Limassol Moufflons, Manikanta Ranimekala topscoring with 30 while Saad Azeem had the impressive figure of 3-13 from his 4 overs. The Limassol team also struggled to make runs, winning only after 18 overs with 6 wickets down, with Salman Akram 25 not out.

The best individual performance of the day came from Cyprus Moufflons’ opener Zeeshan Sarwar, who hit 132 against Nicosia Fighters. He faced only 52 balls and hit 13 fours and 10 sixes as he took the game beyond the reach of the Fighters with a total of 232-9. Sourav Ahmed took 3-30 from his 4 overs but the other bowlers were expensive.

Parvez Mia got the Fighters’ reply off to a good start with 55, but the introduction into the attack of Waqar Ali was decisive as he ripped the heart out of the innings with 5 wickets for 18, and the all-out score of 144 gave the Moufflons an 88-run win.

The current leaders of groups A, C and D are Sri Lankans, Cyprus Moufflons and Limassol Moufflons, although many other teams still have a chance to make the knockout stage. And in group B there is a four-way tie between Punjab Lions, Limassol Zalmi, Napa Kings and Bazigar, so there is all to play for in the remaining matches.

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